Why I Wouldn't Legalize Marijuana
...like alcohol, not everybody can handle it, so it makes NO sense...
Frankie Firme ~ Contributing Editor
I knew this would raise a couple of eyebrows, and cause some Gente to scratch their heads, but I really do mean the title of this piece.
Published on LatinoLA: November 30, 2010
I smoked marijuana daily for almost 40 years, and I gotta say, I committed some of the most lame pendejadas of my youth and early adulthood while under the influence. My street moniker was even "Smokey" back in the 'hood in the late 60's and early 70's.
I would do dumb stuff, and laugh it off the next day, using the excuse that "I was high‘«™"
‘«™used to work when I was a teenager, but seems real lame coming from an adult, doesn't it?‘«™I'm also lucky to be alive despite those pendejadas.
Along with smoking cigarettes all those years, I must have coughed & hacked myself awake many a night with phlegm and spit, only to reach for my bronchial inhaler like a fix when I thought I was suffocating in my sleep‘«™sounds glamorous, huh?...monthly colds and daily nose blowing was just part of life for this mota head‘«™.plus the munchies kept me a jolly fat guy, who would eventually develop diabetes & high blood pressure.
When I finally stopped puffing because of health problems, increased job security, and the increased prices (used to be able to score a 4 finger bag for just $10.00 back in the day!) , I found myself "clear headed" after a month, for the first time in many years.
By that I mean I was finding myself concentrating & focusing better, being more serious about life and my job, not giggling like a pendejo all the time, breathing better, and having more control over things than I had in years‘«™never really took the world serious when I was high, and I found out later that I missed a couple of great opportunities back then, while copping a cool buzz‘«™
‘«™I didn't realize that morning, nooner, and nighttime puffs off a couple of joints a day kept me in such a "fog"‘«™.what a trip, I thought‘«™"que pendejo" I now think!
Then, over 10 years after my last purchase & puff, people started inundating me with information this past election period promoting the legalization of pot, and I thought I'd take a serious look into the issue, as I now have teenaged grandchildren who look to me for an occasional opinion when they argue with their parents‘«™
There are a couple of arguments that proponents and young people use to pump their idea of a utopian world of legalized pot and pot smoking, and my stand against them. Watcha:
1) It will help bring in tax revenue into cash-strapped local governments once it's legalized! Think of all that money!
MY RESPONSE : Are you high or something? Once it's legalized, we can grow our own! Why would I VOLUNTARILY pay taxes if I don't need to, considering all the graft & shenanigans we hear about when politicians get their grubby little hands on the tax money cookie jar? Plus, I believe the underground market (tax free, of course!) would flourish, as people would seek a product in larger quantities, at cheaper prices, to avoid paying taxes.
The number of honest tax-paying people getting high would be outnumbered ten fold by the non tax paying people that will no longer be afraid of getting busted, and despite most proponents leaving this part out, we have to admit that a lot of heavy duty pot smokers act like fools & idiots at the peak of their buzz‘«™
As a Mental Health professional for more than 30 years, I have interviewed many former cons who regretfully admit they committed crimes and received a lifetime record of criminal behavior while "they were high"‘«™.they would LOVE to be seen as responsible adults now, but their prison/jail records are like herpes & baggage‘«™you carry it everywhere!
And the costs of arresting/jailing/courts behind marijuana-induced crimes FAR outnumber the miniscule tax money legalized sales would bring in, so let's get real, here!
2) Once it's legalized, it will cut down on the social stigma that medical beneficiaries get out of smoking marijuana.
MY RESPONSE: That would make a good point, except that most of the pot smokers I know, both recreational users, and those with "a card", AREN'T suffering from terminal cancer/chemotherapy/radiation symptoms, menopause, glaucoma, brain tumors, menstrual cramps, stage 2 hepatitis, chronic severe pain, or any other rare mental or physical malady that would justify the use‘«™they just want to get high.
Once again, I look back into my professional life, and I see that many of my clients who have mental/emotional symptoms are basically worse off, as their symptoms of anxiety, high blood pressure, compulsive eating, paranoia, high risk behavior, and even hallucinations are increased as they choose "medical marijuana" instead of prescription drugs‘«™.and the cost of treating them isn't cheap, by ANY means, believe me!
Don't get me wrong here, I mean if an HONEST Doctor prescribes it for an HONEST medical reason, after HONEST examinations and analysis, to relieve some HONEST symptoms & suffering‘«™ OK‘«™light up and live well‘«™but don't try to tell me that most of the people trying to get marijuana legalized are suffering and in pain!
I have known some responsible and suffering people in pain that have benefited from medical marijuana use, including my late brother and mother, a couple of cops, and even a couple of professional colleagues, so I'm not entirely a hypocrite here‘«™.but when I smoked it, I just wanted to get high‘«™and there's a lot of people that think that way and use the legalization platform as an excuse.
3) The end of Prohibition helped end a lot of criminal enterprises when liquor was legalized and taxed. Additionally, another drug, tobacco, has also benefited our government with the multi-millions of dollars they bring in with taxes, fees, and tariffs. Both are legal, and support hundreds of thousands of jobs as well.
MY RESPONSE: Well‘«™I don't know ANYONE who grows their own tobacco, or distills their own beer, wine, and liquor, so I guess the taxes we pay for these items is just part of life in America, and a retail convenience for many‘«™but on the other hand, the costs of medically treating & eventually burying those who suffer and die from alcohol & tobacco related diseases like lung cancer, emphysema, cirrhosis of the liver, kidney failure, stroke & heart attacks FAR outweigh the taxes, fees, and tariffs they bring in.
We talking BILLIONS here, and as a professional nurse, I've watched many a person die an ugly and slow death because of these diseases‘«™yet, tobacco & alcohol remain legal & widely used. Why add another Russian roulette bullet to the gun of life with legalized marijuana?
Criminal behavior and incarcerations, plus alcohol related traffic deaths, have increased more than 50% among the "honest, law-abiding" population of the United States in the years since Prohibition was repealed, especially during the first 5 years, so I can't really support THAT argument!
Legalizing marijuana will NOT reduce criminal behavior or reduce the strain on police forces by any means. Like liquor, there's always the fools & idiots that can't handle his or her high, and risks increase for everybody, especially our young. (I'm also against lowering the legal drinking age to 18‘«™but that's another story!)
AND furthermore‘«™our American military, of which I am a proud Veteran of 2 branches, employs MILLIONS ‘«™but their main job is to protect our Country by being ready to kill military members of any other Country that threatens us, should that threat ever happen ‘«™so let's NOT get philosophical about the values of jobs that DO NOT protect lives, OK?
4) In European countries like Amsterdam, it's legal, even sold in coffee shops and restaurants, and they haven't had a lot of problems.
MY RESPONSE: OK‘«™but on the contrary and in the real world, Amsterdam is a much smaller country than ours, with a smaller and less diverse population & culture than ours, so it may have been a good idea at the start in their backyard‘«™ but I do know from friends and family who have visited Amsterdam over the past 20 years or so, plus from a little research, and contact with friends in law enforcement, that the number of these coffee houses have reduced in size from thousands to only hundreds after being overwhelmed by tourists who wanted to get high, the attempt by organized crime to move in on the action, and the increase in public nuisance & public disturbance arrests among the 18-25 year olds who increased daily use starting in the1980's when it became publicly legal‘«™.so, support for something that went wrong is NOT a good argument either.
On a personal side, I've had friends and family visit our local jails and prisons for short stays behind drug-related activity over the years, and I can't say I would ever want to join in on the tradition. Not THIS old dude! I LOVE my freedom and sense of comfort too much!
And sadly, I divorced a young wife about 29 years ago, when the call of the wild of marijuana & alcohol, and as the popularity of methamphetamine & extacy in the club scene rose in the early 1980's, and lured her away from me‘«™.
‘«™and when she died after only 8 years of complications arising from steady use and her refusal to get help, "karma" and a sense of satisfaction did not ease the pain of the loss .
I admit, I, along with many of my family & friends, have a couple of beers or drinks at social events, and thankfully, none of them alive are out of control or chronic jail visitors.
‘«™these are the kind of people I hang out with because they are responsible adults that take care of their business, don't drink & drive, and don't drink at the drop of a hat everyday‘«™and NONE of them support legalizing marijuana, even though all of us knows somebody who puffs once in awhile‘«™.
‘«™but once in awhile does not justify legalizing it, and opening another door for the losers of our society to go through, or for our young to fall through.
I remember a threat Fidel Castro of Cuba made against the United States over 30 years ago during the height of the cold war: "We don't have to fight America with armies‘«™we just have to ship drugs to them‘«™once they're all easily hooked, we'll just roll our tanks in..."
‘«™the world is a lot more dangerous than it was over 30 years ago‘«™and I pray that NO young person reading this will be lame enough to say "You did it‘«™why can't I?"‘«™.
Frankie Firme ~ Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is the Al Capone of the microphone, and the Hitman of West Coast Chicano Soul heard daily on world wide Internet radio station www.eastLArevue.com
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